But What About Those Republicans?

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

We’ve talked about the existential search for the soul of the Democratic Party, but what about the Republicans? They aren’t a party for much in the way of soul-searching by nature. They’re typically driven by two important forces: conservative ideology and winning.

Then again, there’s a third force that’s always present – the establishment and their ability to control things.

Today, most of this has been thrown out the window. The defenestration (a word I have longed to use) of the party’s most cherished forces has come down to a rough populist sense of conservatism. Winning? It’s not worth it if all we get are RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). Control by the establishment? Hahahaha! The Iowa Caucus, never a reliable gauge of anything, may have given us some guidance only in the sense that the top three are likely to dominate New Hampshire and maybe beyond. Let’s run this…

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As anniversary of train tragedy nears, MTA focuses on grade crossings


Early in 2016, roughly a year after a Metro-North train struck a Mercedes SUV and derailed, killing the driver and five passengers, the MTA plans to assess the hundreds of crossings where rail meets road.

“Whenever you have an incident of that nature, that visibility and that impact on lives, the loss of life, you do an awful lot of inner-looking,” said MTA chairman Tom Prendergast, at the authority’s monthly board meeting. “And so, grade crossings are a high priority for us.”

There are 437 places in the New York metropolitan area where cars cross Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road tracks. The MTA, via a contractor, already is analyzing 25 of them.

“The initial sampling showed that surveying them closely was helpful, so we’ll do all of them,”

It was on Feb. 3, at one such crossing in Valhalla in Westchester County, that a commuter train crashed into a…

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Three Month Aniversary

The Lonely Author

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall                                                                        Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

As a few of you already know 2015 has been my convalescing year.

First, recovering from emergency retina surgery (right eye) to start the year. (Still have some blurred vision).

In mid summer cervical spine surgery (C1-C6 for my medical friends). My Spine Fusion, the bolting of my neck with screws and plates reduced my head’s range of motion. This former astronomer wannabe lost the ability to look up. Sigh.

One day, recuperating in my living room, my daughter visited. Snatching my laptop, she worked furiously. She asked where I stored my favorite photos, the chimp at the typewriter and the my treasured…

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Last link in the chain of roads from Chicago to New York and Boston.


January 24, 1853 The Toledo, Norwalk & Cleveland Railroad Company (later LS&MS, NYC, PC, CR, NS) opens, forming the last link in the chain of roads from Chicago to New York and Boston.

The NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD was one of 3 major components of the CONRAIL network, which also included the ERIE-LACKAWANNA RAILROAD and the PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD. The New York Central operations in Cleveland date back to 14 March 1836 when the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad was chartered. The financial panic of 1837 shelved all construction plans for the CCC until 1845, when commerce revived enough to make the railroad feasible for freight and passenger service. A $200,000 line of credit from the city and an additional $65,000 from private sources enabled construction to begin in 1847, when ground was broken in the FLATS. The railroad ran from St. Clair to Superior parallel to River (W…

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In defence of Euroscepticism

Pertinent Problems

The last time the public had a vote on our relationship with the rest of Europe was in 1975. At the time this was a vote simply over whether or not we should join a ‘common market’ which is quite difficult to vehemently oppose. However, not only has the EU evolved into a political federation, but no-one under the age of 58 has ever even had the chance to vote against this. In fact, those who voted in ’75 were not aware of how the EU would subsequently dictate domestic government policy. With the likes of Turkey now set to join, I think it’s right to hold a referendum on a question of monumental importance. Should we stay in the EU?

When it comes to the status of the UK in the European Union, the general consensus from the major parties is that we should remain in it. While the Conservative’s harbour…

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Boyington & his Black Sheep

Pacific Paratrooper

Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington

The brashest, most publicized pilots of the Pacific Theater belonged to the appropriately named Black Sheep Squadron.  They were rowdy, profane, hard-drinking, fun-loving and credited with so many Japanese aircraft that they became legends in their own time.

The leader of this wild bunch was Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a former Flying Tiger with 6 kills to his credit.  The boozing, brawling commander downed 28 enemy planes – more than any other Marine pilot.  He was born 4 December 1912 and in Coeur d’Alene, IA he took his first flight at 6 years old with barnstormer, Clyde Pangborn.  Boyington grew up thinking his step-father was his biological father and went by the name Hallenbeck.  It wasn’t until he graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in aeronautical engineering that he learned his real name.

35.jpgBlack sheep patch Black Sheep Squadron patch.

Boyington formed the Black Sheep in the…

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7 Daily Habits of Hyper-Efficient People


How can we define the essential things in our lives when everything in 2016 feels essential?

Staying ahead of the curve, leading, and excelling in our jobs means we all must increase efficiencies.

Here are the seven things that hyper-efficient people do differently.

1.They learn. Efficiently.

They listen to audio books–but do it at double speed. I’ve discussed my obsession with audiobooks here before. When you’re learning, you’re growing. When you’re growing, you’re bringing new opportunities to yourself and to those around you.  A simple efficiency hack is to increase the speed of your audiobook 1x or 2x. Or install iTalkFast–a sexy audio-utility app that allows the user to speed up audio content up to 2.5x.

2. They’re mindful.

Creating space in our lives is difficult. Time for meditation, yoga, or simply being aware of our breathing can all have a profound effect on our productivity. Deirdre Breakenridge, author of Social…

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With help from Penney Vanderbilt